Establishing new ground: reflexive/reflective thinking and plotting a future for studying rock art in contemporary contexts
The chapters in this volume represent a significant new direction for rock art studies that emphasizes a concern with situating archaeological heritage in contemporary contexts. It is important to recognize that this collection of essays fits more broadly into the emerging research trend of questioning the relevance and significance of archaeological heritage in the present and in the future (see e.g., Bednarik 2013). As we alluded to in chapter I, rock art has, more often than not, been linked to archaeological discourse where research questions have focused on the past function and symbolism of sites and motifs, quantitative studies involving classifying and analyzing the stylistic attribu.tes of motifs, and sciencebased investigations such as dating and pigment analysis (among others). While we have no hesitation in acknowledging the importance of such studies in learning more about rock art in archaeological contexts, our contributors have clearly demonstrated the importance of considering the complex contemporary social dimensions of rock art from indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives. They have also shown that by engaging with questions concerning what rock art does and how it functions in the present we are better able to understand rock art's significance and symbolism in multiple domains including political, legal, and educational settings.
Relating to Rock Art in the Contemporary World: Navigating Symbolism, Meaning, and Significance
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Archaeology not elsewhere classified
Heritage and Cultural Conservation